Main Priorities

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Priority 1: Identify Service Members, Veterans and Their Families (SMVF) and Screen for Suicide Risk

Team Leads: Michael Hartford & Jeff Obos


  1. Identify Florida’s Veterans to increase contact and use of resources
  2. Make Veterans aware of mental health resources during a (separation from the military which is a time where many are at increased risk)
  3. Screen for SMVF status and suicide risk in clinical and medical settings
  4. Involve non-VA, non-medical, and non-clinical community partners in asking about SMVF status, noticing suicide risk red flags, and referring individuals to care
  5. Launch a  Governor’s Challenge outreach, advertising, and media campaign

Main Initiatives:

  • Add mental health resource to the DVA letter sent to all new Veterans declaring Florida as their state of residence
  • Add mental health resource to the email sent to every individual that declares they are as a Veteran at the DMV
  • Create a online training for non-Veterans so that they can: 1) Learn about the unique experience of Veterans; 2) Recognize the red flags for suicide risk
  • Develop a advertising and media campaign to make the public aware of Governor’s Challenge effort, resources, and educational information

Priority 2: Promote Connectedness and Improve Care Transitions

Team Lead: Nick Howland


  1. Improve awareness of resources, services and benefits available to SMVF
  2. Improve access to resources, services, and benefits available to SMVF
  3. Improve coverage and usage of resources, services and benefits available to SMVF

Main Initiatives:

  • Create a map of region-specific resources relevant to Veterans
  • Provide training for non-Veterans

Priority 3: Lethal Means Safety and Safety Planning

Team Lead: Walter Sachs


  1. Expand the gun lock distribution program in Florida
  2. Include information about lethal means safety in Governor’s Challenge overall messaging campaign
  3. Increase Narcan distribution to additional communities and organizations
  4. Increase awareness of medication as possible mean for suicide
  5. Promote the VA’s new Safety Planning App

Main Initiatives:

  • Expand gun lock distribution efforts in Florida
  • Highlight existing medication drop off boxes
  • Expand Narcan distribution
  • Develop and disseminate a means safety campaign
  • Promote safety planning as part of means safety via the VA’s safety planning app